Have You Earned Number One?

Pardon me for saying so, but America can be a pretty entitled country.  It’s been so long since we’ve had to fight for the freedoms that we enjoy that we often forget how rare those freedoms are and how hard the men and women of our armed forces had to work to secure those freedoms.

We live in the greatest nation on the planet, but most of us have never known different.  The era of Facebook, easy accessible internet access, entertainment, from CNN to Jersey Shore.  We are a country that gets what we want, and if we’re ever bored, we just need to whip out our phones or change the channel.

But just like freedom, ranking well on the search engines isn’t free.

I work in an industry of cheaters and corner cutters.  I don’t like it, but I accept it.

Seth Godin recently blogged that the weakest link in a brand, *is* the brand.  He couldn’t be more right.  The poor choices of other SEOs make us all look bad.

The search industry has taught folks that you don’t have to deserve to rank #1, you can just pay one of us and we’ll make that happen for you.  We’ll lie for you, cheat for you, buy authority you haven’t earned.

Don’t worry, there’s an app for that, right?

It’s not working like it used to though is it?  The American way of throwing money at something isn’t as effective online as it was during the Mad Men years.  We have to earn our rankings, the same way our founding fathers earned their freedom.

They fought for it.

Alicia Arenas, my business coach and long time friend, teaches her Sanera Camp trainees that “you are at war” and she couldn’t be more right.  We are at war every day for that Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and for every single customer.

What sets you apart that you DESERVE to be #1?  Why are you better than the other guy?  Because you said so?  Forgive me, but that isn’t good enough.

You need to prove it.

You prove it by having an effective web site that is easy to navigate.  You prove it by having content worth sharing, worth linking to.  You prove it by providing your customers with an experience worth bragging about.

Every time you get a review on a site like Google Places, or on Yelp that review shows up as an indicator to Google that your service is better than the rest.

High Ratings Rank Better on Google Maps

Google displays those ratings across their Google Maps applications and your customers are more likely to click on a company with a 5 star rating and 6 positive reviews than a company with no rating and only one review.

Are there tricks to this?  Sure!  There are always corners to cut.  That said, we stress ourselves out trying to beat the system, to chase down the perfect algorythmic match.

At the end of the day, wouldn’t it be easier to just deserve the rating?

Why do you deserve to rank #1?  Why do you deserve a 5 star review?  Why am I going to call you over the other guy?

If you don’t know the answer to the above, you’ve got some thinking to do.

We may have forgotten what went into securing our freedom, but our ignorance won’t protect us when that freedom is threatened. Our men and women in uniform will.

They fight and God forbid die, so that we can continue to spend half our day on Facebook, vote for any candidate we want to, and abrasively announce to the world that we’re voting for Candidate X and anyone who doesn’t must hate puppies.

Are you ready to fight for your business?

Get out there. Earn it.

Matthew Egan is the Founder & SEO of San Antonio SEO consulting firm Image Freedom. When not dancing to the blues, Matthew helps web pages like yours get more traffic through content driven Search Engine Optimization.